The Gamekeeper’s Inn in Threshfield, North Yorkshire is the ideal venue for a rural retreat. It provides visitors with a traditional, yet contemporary, pub environment with on-site accommodation, including a brand new annexed area as part of a £2m refurbishment.
The refurbishment also included a new function room with seating for 140, which provides the perfect location for a wedding ceremony, as well as the after-party.
As Stuart Davies, manager at The Gamekeeper’s Inn for the past 2 years, explained, this increase in covers meant a revamp of the way food is prepared: “Prior to the refurbishment we ran a traditional kitchen, however with an increased focus on banqueting we had to relook at the entire operation. After discussions about our plans and needs with our local distributor, Instock, the company invited us to the Convotherm demonstration kitchen in Sheffield.”
After an overview of how combination ovens can transform a kitchen, Davies booked a second day, which was built entirely around The Gamekeeper’s Inn, and was attended by the site’s head chef, Jim Talbot, and chef de partie, Dave Jones. As Talbot explained: “We had a combi in our previous kitchen, but nowhere near as posh as a Convotherm. After experimenting with a range of dishes on the demonstration day, I can honestly say that it was 100% better quality than our previous oven.”
After 2 days with Convotherm, development chef Scott Kedwards, Davies and the team opted for a Convotherm 4 10.10 easyTouch, along with a Convotherm mini. Talbot reported that despite the excitement about the new oven arriving, it ended up being a baptism of fire: “The day after the Convotherm was installed we had a wedding party of 134 booked into the new function room. We were thrown in at the deep end, but to be honest the controls were so intuitive that it was as if we had been using it for years. It was one of the most relaxed weddings we have ever done.”
A key benefit of the banqueting regime is the ability to pre-cook and plate the meals – all can be regenerated in a matter of minutes prior to service. The Gamekeeper’s Inn cooks and plates everything the day before the function, before blast chilling and then regenerating on order. As Jones explained, it takes the pressure off on the event day itself: “Plated regeneration has been a complete transformation for The Gamekeeper’s Inn and has made life so much easier. With only four of us in the kitchen for many of the functions, the Convotherm has become an extra pair of hands.”
Since the installation of the Convotherm 4, a number of features have really come into their own. Jones continued: “We often have a complete mix of food in the Convotherm at the same time because we are able to select different settings for different levels, so we can cook all the dishes at the same time without any transfer of flavours. I also use the ‘Crisp & Tasty’ function for the belly pork as it produces the best crackling I have ever known.”
Furthermore, by purchasing a Convotherm mini as well, which shares the same easyTouch interface, it meant that Davies and his team only had to learn one operating system.